You may remember a commercial where Tom Bodett would proudly announce “We’ll leave the light on for you” to make customers feel at home, but apparently leaving the light on invites another unwanted guest in Livingston, Texas as well. Imagine slipping into the only room left in town while you’re tired, stressed, and just ready to unwind with your evening meal and catch some reruns of an old television show. You roll your bag in, set your dinner on the table and flip on the light. What greets you could easily be a scene from a horror movie for most people. The room is filled with creatures of an unknown type in the windows, floor, walls, and light fixtures. You pause just a moment and brace yourself for the onslaught that you are certain will end your life through an unexpected heart attack.
Does it all sound like a horror movie? Well it should because it seemed that way on September 18 as I strolled into the last room of Motel 6 in Livingston, Texas. The only saving grace, and perhaps the reason I did not succumb to an unexpected heart attack, was the fact that all these little creatures…these bugs…were dead. They were dead in the window sills, dead behind the door, dead along the edge of the floors and even dead hanging from the walls.
I began checking the rest of the room and found a microwave spattered with food on the inside top, a light fixture in the bathroom full of dead bugs, and even a water bottle cap stuck between the mattress and wall which indicated the bed must not have been moved much. The worst part was that I am confident that the cleaning crews must have seen these bugs since the window curtain was pulled back and clearly revealed a sill covered with bugs.
Once I determined there was no bed bugs and there were no other rooms within a fifty-mile radius, I resigned myself that I was going to sleep in the car or the room. I ended up pulling the sheets down, and sleeping on top of the fitted sheet in my clothing. I had to leave my shoes on as well since the floor was dotted with little dead bugs.
One thing I have learned in the age of the Internet and social media is that major chains look for their hashtag and at symbol’s mentioned. These chains are especially conscious of Twitter. I took to my own Twitter account at https://twitter.com/ClintonSThomas and started posting pictures. By the time I was finished, I had posted twenty-five pictures of the room, and made several comments @motel6 to get their attention or with the #motel6 to get their attention. Within a short time, I received a tweet back from the fine folks who have assured me they leave the light on for me – that’s apparent by the dead bugs who must have been attracted to the light. Motel 6 wanted me to contact their customer service number at 1-855-303-0045 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Eastern time. It was now 10:30 p.m. Central time.
When I left the motel the next morning, the clerk asked me how my stay had been. I shook my head and replied, “Not good. I don’t like sleeping in a room full of dead bugs.” Her response was “Oh, were they love bugs?” Floored for a moment I just stared at her wondering if she had some sort of deficient IQ level that had not been discussed in her interview. I then responded, “I don’t know…they were dead so I could not ask them what type of bug they had been and I did not examine them that closely.” With that I walked out of the room. There simply wasn’t anything left to say to the them since I had already twitted that clearly their “room cleaning service sucked, but their vacuum cleaners did not.”
A few days later after I calmed down a lot, I called customer service. They politely apologized, gave me a case number and asked that I email them the pictures. Naturally, their email address kicked back all six emails with pictures from email@example.com I uploaded the pictures to a shared drive, called them back and was told that the email account was likely full – I wondered if everyone’s room had been full of dead bugs and the account was full of pictures, but I settled to email them again at an alternate address and provided them with the link to the pictures.
As of right now I have not heard anything other than the promise they will investigate the property. Since I know it only takes a good sweep with a vacuum cleaner to get all these bugs, I’m doubtful that I will hear anything back from them. I also noticed there was no offer of a refund. I’m also very confident that no matter how often Tom Bodett leaves the light on for me, I will not be attracted to Motel 6 again like so many bugs apparently have been.